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  • Lost in Translation

    Lost in Translation

    ★★★½

    A tourist's film, 'shot entirely on location', for which Coppola sticks to what she knows. Centring on a young woman whose listless drift in light of postgrad failure(s) and a new marriage whose promise has plateaued, the film somehow sells the relatable ordinariness of its protagonist as aspirationally remarkable. Such trickery extends also to the film's treatment and presentation of its male lead; how has a tired, middle-aged screen star lowering himself to whiskey commercials while enduring phone calls from…

  • The French Connection

    The French Connection

    ★★★★★

    Friedkin, caught between honouring the bootlicking vantage point that enforces racist logics on the one hand and the demands of documentarian verisimilitude and social dynamics on the other, ends up directing a work that borders repeatedly on the avant garde, where every establishing shot and the background of every other shot seems to tell or hint at a story: of decay and delapidation, yes, but also of complex urban infrastructures on and through which a palimpsest of human division and…

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  • Utøya: July 22

    Utøya: July 22

    An actual terror attack is reworked into a home-turf tourist movie: a real-time horror film complete with the kinds of clichés (a heroine returning to danger zones, creepy footsteps outside a tent, gunshot jump-shocks, and so on) for which a genre effort with more schlocky, less arty credentials would be taken to task. The persistent specificity of the opening sequence (dates, timestamps, locations, CCTV footage of the Oslo bombings) hints at a verisimilitude but Poppe, who lacked the guts and…

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    So technically bedazzling, so conceptually clever, so rhythmically consuming, that I almost forgot to enjoy it. It's fun, and occasionally very funny; Peter Parker's hand-to-mouth shock at Doc Ock biting the dust under an interdimensional bus—the kind of unanticipated, visually farcical death you'd encounter in Final Destination—had me cackling in the suddenly silent cinema.